Friday – Thirty-fourth Week – OT2

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Friday – Thirty-fourth Week – OT2

 

Readings: Rev 20:1-4, 11-15, 21:1-2; Lk 21:29-33.

1/ First Reading: NAB Revelation 20:1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a heavy chain. 2 He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years 3 and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over it and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed. After this, it is to be released for a short time. 4 Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 11 Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. 12 I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls. 13 The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire. (This pool of fire is the second death.) 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the pool of fire. 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 21:29 He taught them a lesson. “Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. 30 When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; 31 in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 


 

I. THEME: We need to find God’s will through signs which happen in our life.

            Like the Jews, many of us also like to see miracles: the appearance of Mary, her miracles, her weeping, the bleeding of the Jesus’ Sacred Heart, the miracles of Padres Pio or Fr. Truong Buu Diep. Wherever there is a rumor of these things, people lock to the place with a hope to witness or to receive a miracle.

            But miracles happen are to lighten up faith in people or for them to understand God’s message. For example, Jesus performed miracles for people to recognize God’s power in him so that they believe he was sent by God. If after people had witnessed his miracles, but they still had suspicion, or no faith, or denied even miracles, they receive no benefit from them.

            Today readings teach people to observe phenomena in the universe to recognize God’s will, hidden in these phenomena. In the first reading, the author of Revelation reported what shall happen on the Last Judgment Day. His purpose is to confirm that the Last Day shall certainly happen and the faithful should carefully prepare for this Day. In the Gospel, Jesus reminded his audience that if when they see the fig tree and all the other trees’ buds bursting open, they know that summer is near; in the same way, when they see these signs of the Last Day happening, they should know that the kingdom of God is near.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls.”

           

1.1/ God renders ineffective Satan’s power: Satan and his companions were expelled from the heaven (Rev 12:9) and now are tied and thrown into the abyss by an angel. The author reported this event as follows: “Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a heavy chain. He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over it and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed. After this, it is to be released for a short time.” This fact shows God’s power over Satan, He let Satan have a certain time to tempt people. When God decides the time is over, Satan can’t oppose God.

1.2/ The one thousand years reign: The angel tied and confined him in the abyss one thousand years is to let Christ and his martyrs could govern the world in one thousand years, as the author reported, “Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”

            Some peoples asked, “Is it meant that the one thousand years must happen in this world before the Last Day and Christ’s eternal reign?” Based on the Book of Revelation and some New Testament’s passages (Mt 19:28, I Cor 6:2ff, 15:24, II Tim 2:12), many Church’s Fathers (Justin, Ireneaus, Tertullian), the faithful of the first few centuries and some of the modern sects (Anabaptists, Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses) believed the one thousand years reign shall happen in this world before the eternal reign.

            The Catholic Church followed St. Augustine (Cf. Civitas Dei 20:7-9), doesn’t accept this interpretation. St. Augustine explained that the one thousand year was happening. He differentiated two resurrections:

            (1) The resurrection of the dead: This resurrection happens right after people’s death. The good soul is resurrected and entered Christ’s reign.

            (2) The second resurrection: This resurrection shall happen before the Judgment Day. After that, the good shall enjoy the immortal life while the wicked shall be destroyed forever.

            Satan and his companions are restrainted by Christ. He gives his apostles and their successors the right to bind or to loose which is to forgive people’s sins; this right exceeds Satan’s power. However, Satan and his companions shall have a greater control over people during the time before the Last Day.

           

1.3/ The Judgment Day: In this day, the followings shall happen:

            (1) The universe shall be wiped out: The author revealed: “Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them.”

            (2) All people shall be resurrected and judged: “I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls. The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds.”

            (3) The death, hell and the wicked shall be destroyed forever: “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire. (This pool of fire is the second death). Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the pool of fire.”

            (4) The eternal life for the good: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

2/ Gospel: “When you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”

2.1/ To interpret phenomena happened in the world: For example, when people observe phenomena in the world, if they see the same result that happens in a certain condition, then they conclude it will also happen like that the next time. Jesus illustrated a practical example which hia audiences had experience: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.”

2.2/ To interpret phenomena happened on the Last Day: Jesus continued: “So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” The Last Day will certainly happen, it is not the product of human imagination. Jesus declared to his disciples: “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            – We need to find out God’s will through all things which happen in our life such as: phenomena in the universe, personal events and what shall happen before the Last Day.

            – We need to meditate about three most important things which we heard the Liturgy of the Word keep repeating: the death, the resurrection and the final judgment.

            – We need to carefully prepare for the Last Day because we shall receive the eternal life or to be destroyed forever depending on what we have done in this life.

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